15 Predictions for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles
Here are my 15 predictions for the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles:
1. DeSean Jackson is motivated this season, much more than in past years
As the only receiver or tight end who keeps defensive coordinators up at night, he's going to have a big season. Expect production similar to his 2009 season, when he earned a Pro Bowl selection.
I'll go with 69 catches for 1,154 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 138 yards on the ground. He won't make the Pro Bowl because of the ridiculous receiver depth in the NFC, but he'll definitely live up to expectations.
2. LeSean McCoy has the best season of his career
In fact, he has a chance to be the best running back in the league this season.
My predictions: 296 carries for 1,514 yards and 13 touchdowns. Through the air, I think, he'll catch 68 passes for 554 yards and four scores. That's an All-Pro season.
3. Jason Peters should be fine despite tearing his Achilles tendon in March of 2012
After all, the injury happened more than 18 months ago. He's fully healed. He has looked great in training camp and is going to be dominant this season.
4. Brandon Graham will lead the team in sacks
It won't be double-digits, but eight or nine sacks seem realistic. Vinny Curry, Trent Cole, Connor Barwin and Fletcher Cox should be able to collect five or six each.
5. Depth will be a problem for the Eagles
And the defense is so weak that an injury to a player like Fletcher Cox or DeMeco Ryans could make the Eagles the worst defense in the league.
Injuries will happen this season. Let's just hope they're not serious and they're not to key players.
6. The Eagles' pass defense is absolutely shredded against the better quarterbacks
This year, the Eagles play Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo (twice), Eli Manning (twice), Robert Griffin III (twice), Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. Expect eight of those 10 games to result in a passer rating in the triple digits.
The Eagles just don't have the secondary to keep up with those quarterbacks.
7. Mychal Kendricks takes the next step toward solid starting linebacker in this league
With Kendricks, Ryans, Barwin, Cole and Graham, the Eagles have an underrated corps at linebacker.
8. I don't have high expectations for Todd Herremans this year
Just a gut feeling. He's 32 this fall, and he'll be making the switch from right tackle to right guard for the first time. Guard is an easier position to play but I'm concerned about Herremans after his serious foot injuries last season.
If he stays healthy and plays at his usual solid level, I'll be thrilled.
9. Cary Williams has been a disaster since he was signed on the first day of free agency
He's also not a very good player.
He struggles at covering, and although he is physical, he looks for a fight way too often. I expect him to be a disaster this season, along the lines of a 100 passer rating and multiple unnecessary roughness penalties.
I wouldn't put it past him to get ejected either.
After all, he should have in the Super Bowl.
10. Bryce Brown has unlimited potential but just needs to work on his fumbling
Well, he will also have to work on his tendency to cut outside on so many runs.
I think he'll be a very successful backup, but I don't think the fumbling will stop. Let's go with 115 carries (same as last year) for 531 yards and four scores. Add in three fumbles and you'll know why such a talented player only averages seven carries per game.
11. Brandon Boykin does not take over as a starting cornerback
Despite many predicting otherwise, he will play the entire season as the nickel corner, intercepting two passes and surrendering a 78.7 passer rating.
12. Riley Cooper does not have a breakout season
He may be the No. 2 receiver, but that doesn't mean Jason Avant won't catch more passes. I think Cooper will catch around 30 passes for 381 yards and three scores.
13. Damaris Johnson will double his receiving totals from last year
This season will see him catching 34 passes for 515 yards and four touchdowns. He'll split the punt returning duties with DeSean Jackson, averaging 10.6 yards per return (no touchdowns).
14. The Eagles will win six games
They'll beat San Diego in Week 2, Kansas City in Week 3, Tampa Bay in Week 6, Oakland in Week 9, Arizona in Week 13 and Dallas in Week 17. That's a 1-5 division record for those keeping score at home.
15. Chip Kelly's offense will have success on many levels
But it won't be the top-five or even top-10 scoring offense that some have been predicting. That's possible for the future but not in 2013. I have the Eagles scoring 363 points and allowing 419. The minus-56 point differential would be a 92-point improvement over 2012.
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